Big potential for late summer diving
The Sportsman’s Report
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By Bill Hanson  September 6, 2013 12:00 am

Late summer diving can be excellent, and divers are in the water. Reports from the salty front are mostly flat seas and very poor visibility. 

We’re talking underwater visibility. Sometimes, the near shore waters are so murky it’s like diving in won-ton soup without the good stuff. Maybe, if you like shards of kelp, there is something chunky to eat. One time I went in and the visibility, the ‘Vis,’ in diver-speak, was so bad I hit my face mask on the bottom. I shook off the cuckoo birds and started for the surface. It was so dark I could not see my bubbles. It was hard to find which way is up in that gunk. I lived, although it was nice to see my float tube on the top, and I was really interested in breathing.

The Redwood Empire Divers did a camp/dive trip to VanDamme State Beach. Lovely Nikki Gross took home the ‘big abalone’ prize, a 10-incher with a deep shell. The spear fishing is more dependable with decent ‘Vis’ but was less than spectacular. We wait for better waters as the dog days of summer bring on early storms and wash all the floating debris onto the beach. The aforementioned murky dive experience was at Ocean Cove. I’ve been to the same spot and could count the abalone on the rocks 20 feet from the surface. On special days like that, the diving is like swimming in the big aquarium on Cannery Row in Monterey.

Hunting update

Deer hunters in the A-zone are reporting an above average take of bucks this year. The deer are also bigger than in years past, which is good news for the freezer. 

Wild boars are also being taken. There is an urban legend that says wild boars are sour during the summer months. That I can believe. If you shoot old boars or a lactating sow, they stink any time of the year. 

Stick to the smaller pigs, and you will likely find them sweet and firm, not gamey. That is if you properly field dress them and get them to refrigeration as soon as possible. To store wild game, wrap them in freezer bags and again in freezer paper, then let them rest in the freezer for 30 days. This will kill most beasties that may inhabit their blood and muscle. 

To check on the most recent advice on wild game safety Google USDA and search ‘wild game’ to get advice and guidelines on safe preparation and storage of wild game. 

If you do it right, you will understand why we hunt, other than the primal urge of a hunter-gatherer.

Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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